Johnny Damon never wanted to leave the Yankees after the 2009 season, but lost a financial game of chicken to GM Brian Cashman. Now that the Yankees have an opening at DH, Damon is said to badly want to return to the Bronx, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post.
There are two problems preventing Damon from returning to the Bronx right now. The first is the Jesus Montero–Michael Pineda trade hasn’t been finalized and the Yankees aren’t making any deals for a DH until all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed.
That will eventually happen, but when it does there will still be the problem of money. The Yankees are said to only have up to $2 million left to spend on their roster and they still have to find a backup for Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod suggested earlier this week that the Yankees need a rotating DH, a signal that he plans on needing plenty of rest in the upcoming season.
So unless the Yankees can actually find somebody to take A.J. Burnett off their hands it seems very likely that either they won’t sign a DH at all or they will go the non-roster invitee route. So unless Damon wants to be a Yankee so badly that he is willing to play for the major league minimum, there is a decent chance that there won’t be room financially for him on this team.
The Yankees meanwhile have plenty of options at DH if they wanted to explore some of them. Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez are out there so is Hideki Matsui. If they wanted to get crazy Derrek Lee is still available and Manny Ramirez is looking for a job too. They are also trying to find a team to take Burnett off their hands and ideally would just trade him for a DH.